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Annenberg & Penn Medicine

Message Effects Lab

Messages matter. They can influence our behavior by shaping our decisions, emotions, and motivation. How do you know which messages will have the right effect? We can help.  

Together with the Perelman School of Medicine, the Annenberg School is pleased to support the work of the new Message Effects Lab (MEL). Because many well-intentioned health messages have no effect or even “backfire” by decreasing healthy behavior, MEL uses empirical evidence to identify the most promising messages for behavior change interventions. When the message matters, we use science to craft it. 

We can support your goals if you want to: 

  • Apply advances in psychology and message effects
  • Identify and target mechanisms of behavior change
  • Tailor intervention approaches to your unique research needs
  • Leverage validated methods and theory
  • Determine what works best and why

We provide scientific guidance to domestic and international governments, as well as industry. Click here for examples of recent success and ongoing projects.

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Read More About the Lab

In Penn Today, Message Effects Lab Director Jessica Fishman, as well as one of her collaborators, Annenberg professor Andy Tan, discuss their vision for the lab and some of the projects they are working on.

Jessica Fishman

Questions about collaboration? Contact Us.

Jessica Fishman, PhD
Director, Message Effects Lab


"By collaborating with the Message Effects Lab, we learned lessons that we now apply across communication platforms."

Meghan Blickman, MPA
Director of Community Resources
Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity | City of Philadelphia

"We are grateful for the input of the Message Effects Lab in helping us to understand the type of incentive best supported by the evidence as we worked to design this program."

Cheryl Bettigole
Health Commissioner
Philadelphia Department of Public Health

"Text messages informed by behavioral science show promise in increasing pediatric influenza vaccination rates."

MK Kelly, MPH
Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

"Our colleagues within this multicenter study were impressed with the services offered by the Message Effects Lab."

Alexis R. Ogdie-Beatty, MD, MSCE
Associate Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology
University of Pennsylvania

"The Message Effects Lab realizes some of the most ambitious and vitally important goals of the University of Pennsylvania. . .We really can’t ask for more."

John L. Jackson, Jr.
Former Dean of the Annenberg School
University of Pennsylvania

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